The European Commission has finalised the arrangements for lump-sum payments to International Cooperation Partner Countries (ICPC) taking part in the Seventh Framework Programme for research and technological development (FP7). Flat rate lump-sum amounts can now be incorporated in grant agreements for indirect actions concluded under FP7. This option should make the grant-agreement process, as well as project administration, far simpler than was the case with the traditional reimbursement of eligible costs. 'By offering international cooperation partner country beneficiaries a simpler method of financing the work, we facilitate their participation in FP7 research activities and reduce the administrative follow-up,' says Mary Minch, Director for International Cooperation within the Commission's Research DG. 'The lump-sum amounts have been defined on the basis of World Bank data on gross national income levels in the different countries. It is up to the individual partners to decide whether or not to opt for the lump-sum system of payment. Alternatively, participants may request the standard reimbursement of eligible costs,' she adds. The lump sum covers all the costs of the ICPC involved - not only personnel and travel costs, but also those for equipment, consumables and indirect costs. In addition to World Bank data, calculations on the maximum EU contribution take into account the number of person-years requested for the project, the type of funding scheme that the project is using, and the legal status and activity type of the legal entity in the ICPC.